March 12, 2002

A Stalwart Between the Pipes

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To Charles and Jacqueline Giancola, spring means lacrosse season and thousands of miles on the road. These parents of four lacrosse-playing children never rest in their efforts to watch as many of their children’s games as possible, even if that means logging as many as 1,000 road miles in a single weekend.

“My mom calls herself the ‘road warrior,'” said senior goalie Carrie Giancola, who anchors a Red defense that ranked fourth nationally last year and will be a key to a return trip to the NCAA tournament for Cornell.

Proficiency on the road will also be crucial to the lady laxers’ success this year, as the Red will visit nationally ranked squads Notre Dame, Princeton, Boston University and Johns Hopkins during the season. Success on the road requires stability and focus, two qualities embodied by the Red’s senior goalie.

“She sets the tone a lot of the time with her presence,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “Carrie plays with a lot of emotion, and the rest of the team feeds off of that.”

A goalie her entire lacrosse career, Giancola enters her final year at Cornell hoping to continue the upward progress the team has enjoyed in her first three. After falling just a single game short last year, the team’s primary objective is the Ivy League title.

“We are going for the Ivy title; it is in our grasp this year … we can do it,” said Giancola.

Fundamental to this end will be defensive prowess, something that Giancola knows all about. After not allowing more than nine goals in a single game in 2001, the Red will look to improve on that accomplishment in 2002 in order to take that final step needed for an Ancient Eight championship.

A skilled athlete, Giancola boasted the nation’s second-best goals against average (6.56) last year, which was a major contributor to the team’s success.

“All good teams have strong goalies, and we’re very fortunate to have someone so athletic and so gifted in the goal cage,” said Graap.

“I know how to play the college game,” added Giancola. “The biggest thing I’m looking to do this season is to improve my mental game.”

In past years, this emotional aspect has been a bit of a concern for Giancola, who is known as a yeller on the field, acting as the eyes for the team. By allowing herself to not dwell on goals she allows, she has improved her outlook on the game, and thus, her performance.

“I know I’m gonna get scored on a lot. All I need to worry about is that we score one more than they do,” said Giancola, displaying the mental fortitude needed to make the necessary jump to win the Ivy title.

“You don’t get many shutouts [in lacrosse],” commented goalies coach Adrian Walters. “Her attitude is now ‘Man, I could have had that one, but you know what, I’m gonna get the next one.’ That’s a big change for her.”

“I need to channel my emotions a little better,” added Giancola.

A communications major from Manlius, NY, Giancola has the added pleasure of playing with two former teammates at Fayetteville-Manlius High School this year. Junior attacker Sarah Averson and freshman midfielder Kristen Smith also hail from the suburban Syracuse high school, where they played under the guidance of Graap’s former teammate, Kathy Taylor ’84.

“It’s fun. We know the same people [who] we play against,” Giancola said about her acquaintances from home. “We wanted to get all four years [freshman, sophomore, junior and senior], but it didn’t work; I wanted my sister [Towson sophomore midfielder Abby] to come.”

Of course, had Giancola succeeded in this goal, her parent’s springtime driving schedule would have been much smaller and less hectic.

Archived article by Owen Bochner